This is one of those times where I am just going to write and hope that one of you gets me. If I’ve learned anything from living a part of my life on the Internet it’s that if I feel a certain way about something, no matter how scary it is to admit, there’s someone else who feels the exact same way who is scared to admit it as well.
I am not very good at raising toddlers.
I mean, I’m good in the sense that I keep them clean, I keep them fed and attempt to teach them right from wrong. But toddlerhood is all encompassing for me, nothing else really gets done when I have toddlers. I think I lose a lot of my identity in keeping toddlers alive. This time around is much different, Vivi goes to daycare once a week (minimum) and I have something that resembles a hobby/job (jobby?) on the side that keeps me feeling like I’m contributing more to society than keeping an extra set of fingers out of electrical sockets. I love the age, I have an appreciation for the toddler sense of humor and thought process, but the little critters cannot be left alone for a second. Completing a household task or a thought process with Vivi around is challenging to say the least.
So what do I do about it? Nothing. I realize that these days are fleeting and will soon be over. I’ll have the rest of my life to have a clean house free of diapers and cat toys hidden in my shoes. I sit on the floor, I stack blocks and roll balls. I read the same book over and over and I plan my days around nap time and plan my outings around when Vivi will be well fed. It’s not a terrible way to live, because I know it will someday end. Someday I will be able to leave the house without toddler essentials. Someday I will be able to eat a meal in peace without the imminent threat of tossed flatware. I write down the best bits, tuck away photos of the best moments and know the day to day stress and difficulties of toddlerhood will soon become a distant memory, like a song you can hum but don’t really remember the words to.
I used to think I was a terrible mother because all I could do with Addie during her toddler years was survive. I went through the motions of playing with her and caring for her. I took her everywhere with me and did everything with her because I didn’t have any other options. I unknowingly showed and taught her a lot by simply having her around me. She turned out to be a marvelous kid even though I didn’t do TinyTot gymnastic, music, water and art classes. She turned out just fine even though I didn’t talk in the third person to her about good choices and Mozart.
The toddler years are not my thing, and that’s okay. I’ve found a way to balance out the responsibility while enjoying the age, and if I’ve learned anything from raising Addie, our parenting strengths all balance out in the end.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.